Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 10.2.19

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Like a hot cup of joe, nothing satisfies better than Sunburn.

Family and friends of the late state Sen. Dorothy Hukill are starting a foundation in her name to help students interested in public service to pursue their dreams of higher education.

The Dorothy L. Hukill Foundation will include a scholarship fund, but the organizers hope it will do far more to help students get into college. Her son Jonathan Hukill said they are envisioning an organization that can help with everything from providing assistance for college entrance exams to mentoring, and internships prospects to community service opportunities.

Dorothy Hukill
Remembering a devoted public servant: Dorothy Hukill.

Today will mark one year since Hukill succumbed to cancer.

It took a public servant who had dedicated decades to serving people through Ponce Inlet Town Hall, Port Orange City Hall, and the Florida Legislature, and decades more before that as a lawyer and a teacher.

“This has been a tremendous loss, not just for our family, but for so many whose lives she touched. She was such a force in life, it’s hard to believe that she’s no longer with us,” her son Jonathan Hukill wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday announcing the foundation. “But I take comfort in the fact that, while she lived, my mom was a doer. From the Ponce Inlet Town Council in 1992, through her service to Port Orange and in the Florida Legislature, she threw herself completely into the task at hand: helping others through public service.”

One key difference between the Dorothy L. Hukill Foundation and others may lay in its commitment to students aspiring to public service. This could be represented in a variety of ways, such as students’ commitments to public affairs, political science, teaching, military service, social work, and other public service education.

The foundation is being established with interest already coming in from two distinct regions, the east Central Florida area represented in part by her Senate District 14, which includes much of Volusia County and northern Brevard County; and from the Tallahassee area, where she served for 14 years. Jonathan Hukill said they hope to be able to launch the foundation in early 2020.

People interested in supporting the foundation are being asked to email [email protected] or reach out on Facebook.


Best story of the day — Funeral for veteran who died alone causes traffic jam in Sarasota” via Craig Pittman of the Tampa Bay Times — For four years, Bill and April McCausland lived next door to Edward K. Pearson in a Naples mobile home park. They knew him as “Mr. Ed,” a cheerful soul who sat on his porch and waved at everyone who passed by. On Tuesday, the McCauslands were among an estimated 1,500 people who showed up at Sarasota National Cemetery to salute Pearson, an Army veteran whose open-to-all funeral became a social media phenomenon. They were among the handful at the service who had actually met the man. If Pearson, 80, had seen the huge turnout of so many people he didn’t know, Mrs. McCausland said, “he would have cried, then laughed, then saluted everybody.”

A motorcycle group carries American flags during an open funeral service for veteran Edward K. Pearson at the Sarasota National Cemetery.


Here’s some bloggin’:

For Debbie Mayfield, it’s full brakes ahead for high-speed rail” via Peter Schorsch Florida Politics — Sen. Mayfield appears determined once again to pass her Florida High-Speed Passenger Rail Safety Act, adding unnecessary and burdensome restrictions aimed at derailing passenger train projects such as Brightline. Mayfield is a longtime foe of the project. Last week, after she failed to get the unanimous support of her Brevard County colleagues on a resolution supporting more regulation, she announced she would refile her legislation. Her bill would impose new regulatory and punitive costs on Brightline, an innovative passenger rail project. But if Mayfield’s new bill is similar to her last one, it’ll be full of language that duplicates or contradicts what the Federal Railroad Administration already regulates.

Continue reading here.

… and …

The little-known Florida Trust for Historic Preservation, based in Tallahassee, is about to get a much higher and negative profile” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — Strolling the lush and peaceful grounds of Fort Lauderdale’s historic Bonnet House, you’d never suspect that this beloved landmark and major tourist attraction is ground zero in a nasty feud for control of its property and purse strings. When Evelyn Bartlett gifted her home to the Florida Trust, her intention was that it be managed by a local board and that revenue from events, visitors, and donations would be used to maintain the nearly 100-year-old property in perpetuity.

But four years into the agreement, and against Bartlett’s wishes, the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation began demanding a significant portion of the estate’s annual revenue to underwrite its own growing administrative costs and support other operations across Florida.

Continue reading here.


The return of ‘He Said, She Said’: Remembrances — On a new “He Said, She Said,” Michelle and I return after a brief hiatus for the unexpected passing of Michelle’s beloved father, Benjamin Todd.

Also, a throwback to the podcast’s first episode, with the return of former Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, talking about how Tampa has become a “top-tier Sun Belt city.” We also discuss Tampa Bay’s notoriety and the divide between rural and urban areas in the region, as well as the state of Florida and the rest of the country.

“It’s the urban areas in America that have led this country out of the recession,” Buckhorn says. “It’s where the jobs are created; it’s where the opportunities are being developed; it’s where the entrepreneurs want to live; it’s where the investors are investing. It is the urban areas that are fueling our growth.”

But what’s fueling the divide? I argue that race is the defining element, citing projects like the New York Times’ “1619,” which examine the pervasiveness of racism and the shameful legacy of slavery.

Buckhorn argues that Tallahassee should stop its “overreach” in preventing home rule. “Not every city in the state of Florida is uniform or wants the same set of policies,” he says.

So, what’s next for Bob Buckhorn? He says he’s in the process of considering his “next act,” and spent the summer in Ireland and North Carolina. “I’ve got a decade worth of honey-dos to do,” he said. “But I’m starting to get antsy.”

We talk about Rays baseball, a new stadium, and the biggest challenges for Tampa Bay — transportation and water.

Winners of the week: Jane Castor on her first 150 days; Ron and Casey DeSantis on their upcoming third child. Loser of the week: Florida GOP Chair Joe Gruters.

Listen and subscribe today at iTunes, Google Play and Stitcher.



Sunrise looks at new rules from Florida’s Agriculture Department imposing limits on forest and agricultural burning. Before any controlled burn of an entire field of sugar-cane remnants, they will now have to check things like fog and the air quality index.

Also, on today’s Sunrise:

— Good news for hard-hit Bay County. The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved almost $160 million to help pay for the cost of hurricane debris removal.

— Speaking of the Panhandle, there’s a major kerfuffle at Rebuild 850 — the organization created to aid in the recovery of the region after Hurricane Michael. Former Congresswoman Gwen Graham was removed as co-chair of the committee because of tweets she made that were critical of DeSantis.

—A group of Florida faith leaders signed onto a letter-writing campaign from the Church World Service to U.S. Senators Marco Rubio, Rick Scott and the rest of Congress urging them to restore the U.S. refugee acceptance program.

— Florida Man Nathaniel Collier, a vendor at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, charged a fan $362 apiece for two beers. He was promptly arrested.

To listen, click on the image below:


@RealDonaldTrump: As I learn more and more each day, I am coming to the conclusion that what is taking place is not an impeachment, it is a COUP, intended to take away the Power of the People, their VOTE, their Freedoms, their Second Amendment, Religion, Military, Border Wall, and their God-given rights as a Citizen of The United States of America!

@Parscale: Huge fundraising haul this quarter. The @GOP and @realDonaldTrump campaign brought in 125 million!!!

@SecPompeo: I’m concerned with aspects of the Committee’s request that can be understood only as an attempt to intimidate, bully, & treat improperly the distinguished professionals of the Department of State, including several career FSOs.

@ScottMStedman: BREAKING EXCLUSIVE: I’m told that Pompeo’s office in recent days asked State Department HR/IG if they could “discipline” officers for “failure to follow direction” if they cooperate with Congress.

@KFILE: The president of United States has been tweeting about bringing his political opponents up on charges, civil war, and treason — and the Republican Party has been largely silent on it.

@RepMaxineWaters: I’m calling on the GOP to stop Trump’s filthy talk of whistleblowers being spies & using mob language implying they should be killed. Impeachment is not good enough for Trump. He needs to be imprisoned & placed in solitary confinement. But for now, impeachment is the imperative.

@RepTedYoho: As we celebrate @NASA 61st birthday, I’m honored to have met with my friend @JimBridenstine before the Oct. recess. The R & D they are doing to get the US back to the #moon & to #Mars is unparalleled. Looking forward to seeing their continued contributions to human life in #space

@ChipLaMarca: Great public opinion numbers on concept of student-athletes being able to experience the same exact personal & individual freedom that every American enjoys — the right to benefit from their name, image, & likeness. This would eradicate unreasonable restrictions on a free market.

@JayBilas: The NCAA “agrees changes are needed,” but wants to do it on its own time, if at all. Well, you’ve had over 100 years to figure it out. Time is up.


“Joker” opens — 2; NBA 2020 Preseason begins — 3; Triple Force Friday: the next generation of Star Wars products arrives — 3; CNN hosts candidate town hall on LGBTQ issues — 8; Debut of Breaking Bad movie on Netflix — 9; Fourth Democratic debate outside Columbus, Ohio — 13; New season of “The Crown” streaming on Netflix — 16; “Watchmen” premieres on HBO — 18; Florida Chamber Future of Florida Forum begins — 26; Brexit scheduled — 29; 2019 General Election — 34; 3rd Annual Florida Internet and Television FITCon starts — 36; “The Mandalorian” premieres — 51; “Frozen 2” debuts — 51; TaxWatch 40th Annual Meeting — 61; “The Rise of Skywalker” premiers — 79; 2020 Session begins — 104; Florida TaxWatch State of the TaxPayer Dinner in Tallahassee — 105; Super Bowl LIV in Miami — 123; Iowa Caucuses — 124; New Hampshire Primaries — 132; Florida’s presidential primary — 167; “Black Panther 2” debuts — 217; 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo begin — 296; Florida primaries for 2020 state legislative/congressional races — 328; 2020 General Election — 398.


Donald Trump campaign, RNC raise record $125 million in 3rd quarter” via Zeke Miller of The Associated Press — The pro-Trump effort said it has raised more than $308 million in 2019 and has more than $156 million in the bank. Republicans aim to use the fundraising haul to fight off Democrats’ impeachment effort. Former President Barack Obama and the DNC raised just over $70 million in the third quarter of 2011. “President Trump has built a juggernaut of a campaign, raising record amounts of money at a record pace,” said Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale. RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel credited Democratic attacks on Trump for motivating supporters to donate in record numbers.

Donald Trump and the RNC take in a record-busting haul.


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Trump head to Florida Thursday as impeachment inquiry heats up” via Skyler Swisher of the Sun-Sentinel — Pelosi will attend a forum in Weston featuring South Florida Democratic members of Congress and Venezuelan leaders. The event will be held at the Bonaventure Town Center Club. About 250 miles to the north, Trump — the target of Pelosi’s impeachment probe — is expected to discuss health care at an event in The Villages, a massive retirement community where he received 68% of the vote in 2016.

Both Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi — now adversaries in impeachment — will be in Florida this week.

Trump wants to ‘interview’ whistleblower’” via Eileen Sullivan of the New York Times — Trump on Tuesday kept his focus on an anonymous whistle-blower, asking why he was not “entitled to interview” the person, a day after he said the White House was trying to find out the person’s identity, despite institutional directives and confidentiality protections. In addition to interviewing the “so-called ‘Whistleblower,’” Trump wrote on Twitter on Tuesday, he would also like to interview “the person who gave all of the false information to him.” Trump’s focus on the whistle-blower is one of several ways the White House has addressed the complaint — which alleged that Trump was using his office for personal gain — and the phone call at the center of it between Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. Trump has repeatedly defended his conversation with Mr. Zelensky as “perfect.”

Chuck Grassley breaks with Trump over protecting whistleblower” via Burgess Everett of POLITICO — The most senior GOP Senator has fashioned a career on protecting whistleblowers during presidencies of both parties. And in the middle of one of the most tempestuous political storms in two decades, the seventh-term Iowan is sticking to his position even if it’s at odds with the President himself. In a statement, Grassley moved to stave off attacks and the unmasking of the federal whistleblower who first divulged Trump’s call with Ukraine’s president. 

Kathy Castor looks forward to ‘brave’ whistleblower testimony ‘this week’” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — The House Intelligence Committee will hear testimony “this week” from the whistleblower behind bombshell allegations that launched an impeachment inquiry into Trump. Speaking to WMNF Community Radio’s Sean Kinane, Castor called the whistleblower “brave” and said the person’s testimony would be heard in closed session this week. “The fact now that the president has admitted that he did in fact pressure the Ukrainian President, he put his personal political interests ahead of the United States of America’s military and national security interests, that is plain, but now the house is proceeding in a very deliberate way, an expeditious way, to get all of that on the record,” Castor said.

Mike Pompeo accuses Democrats of bullying in impeachment probe” via Lisa Mascaro, Mary Clare Jalonick and Matthew Lee of The Associated Press — Pompeo said in a letter to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, as part of the chamber’s impeachment inquiry into Trump, that the requested dates for the officials to voluntarily appear for depositions were “not feasible.” “I am concerned with aspects of your request,” Pompeo wrote to Rep. Eliot Engel, chairman of the panel. “I will not tolerate such tactics, and I will use all means at my disposal to prevent and expose any attempts to intimidate the dedicated professionals.” The muscular response from Pompeo came one day after it was disclosed that he was among those listening in on Trump’s July phone call with the Ukraine president that helped trigger the impeachment inquiry.

Mike Pompeo is blasting Democrats for ‘bullying’ in impeachment probe.

Always a Florida connection —Rudolph Giuliani’s Ukrainian allies racked up debts in South Florida” via the Miami Herald — The “Ukrainians” are two South Florida businessmen named Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman who were sent letters by three House committees requesting information as part of an impeachment inquiry against Trump. Parnas and Fruman have recently become major Republican donors — and couriers of what they say is explosive information sourced from Ukraine about widespread corruption involving Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, American diplomats and Ukrainian officials. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, has been their conduit to the Trump administration. Three House committees subpoenaed Giuliani for documents relating to his efforts in Ukraine.

And another one —Meet the Miami attorney at Giuliani’s side before Congress” via Kevin Hall and Jay Weaver of the Miami Herald — A former Watergate prosecutor based in Miami may have a big say in whether Giuliani complies with a subpoena from lawmakers conducting impeachment hearings in the House of Representatives. Giuliani had tapped Miami-based veteran attorney Jon A. Sale, of counsel with Nelson Mullins, to represent him before the congressional inquiry into whether Trump improperly pressured Ukraine’s president for a political favor. “This subpoena is very complex because it raises a lot of issues — including privilege and constitutional issues — so it requires serious analysis,” Sale said in a brief telephone interview.

Republicans in Escambia, Santa Rosa counties solidly behind Trump amid impeachment talk” via Melissa Nelson Gabriel of the Pensacola News Journal — As impeachment plans moved forward in Washington on Monday, local Republicans in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties strongly defended President Donald Trump, his domestic policies and his interactions with foreign leaders. While it isn’t surprising that Trump’s support in the heavily Republican western Panhandle appears solid, it is important, said Adam Cayton, an assistant professor in the University of West Florida’s Reubin Askew Department of Government. “Florida is always a battleground state where every vote could matter. We see close election after close election in Florida, and the Panhandle can easily decide a statewide election,” he said. “Our opinions here in Northwest Florida matter.”


Casey DeSantis took GOP donor’s plane to attend mental health event” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida — DeSantis on Monday took a private jet owned by GOP powerbroker and donor Mori Hosseini to fly from Tallahassee to Northeastern Florida, where she attended a government event to announce funding for mental health. The event, which was featured in a press release from the governor’s office, was part of the first lady’s Hope for Healing campaign, a mental health initiative she launched after Gov. DeSantis took office in January. Meredith Beatrice, the governor’s deputy communications director, said Casey DeSantis attended a private event prior to the official state business. Beatrice did not provide specifics on the private event.

Assignment editors — First Lady Casey DeSantis will make a major announcement joined by Lt. Gov. Jeanette Núñez, Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Mary Mayhew, Department of Children and Families Secretary Chad Poppell and Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees, 11:45 a.m., Memorial Regional Hospital, Conference Center (located on the first-floor garage), 3501 Johnston St., Hollywood.

Happening today — Aides to DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet will meet ahead of a Cabinet meeting scheduled Oct. 8, 9 a.m., Cabinet Meeting Room.

Kelli Stargel again seeks parental consent requirement on abortions for minors” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — The Lakeland Republican filed legislation (SB 404) that would prohibit physicians from performing abortions on girls without express permission from a parent or guardian. The bill allows minors to seek an exemption through petitioning the court. “This protects minor girls who are pregnant and considering abortion by involving one of their parents or a legal guardian in the decision-making process,” Stargel argued in the Senate last year. The bill has been a top priority for pro-life groups but decried by pro-choice lawmakers as a test case to challenge abortion access with a more conservative Supreme Court. Stargel sponsored similar legislation last year that made it through the Senate Health Policy Committee, but the bill died afterward.

Kelly Stargel tries again: This year, the Lakeland Republican will again seek parental consent requirements for minors seeking an abortion.

Will Florida follow California’s footsteps and allow college athletes to be paid?” via Gray Rohrer of the Orlando Sentinel — A new California law allowing college athletes to make money from endorsement deals and hire agents has some lawmakers in Florida looking to follow suit. “This is about fairness. The current NCAA rules prevent these highly skilled adults from earning a living while others get rich off their free labor,” said House Democratic Leader Kionne McGhee, who filed a bill similar to the California measure on Monday. The law signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom doesn’t take effect until 2023 but is already spurring other states, like South Carolina, to look at the issue. The NCAA opposes the law and has threatened to expel California schools from its competitions. McGhee’s bill, HB 251, would take effect July 1, 2020.

Lawmaker wants to shoo pets from the restaurant table” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Pets may lose their at seat at the restaurant table if a new bill becomes law. Rep. Bruce Antone filed legislation (HB 243) that prohibits most animals from entering into the majority of restaurants and retail stores in Florida. The Orlando Democrat’s bill excludes service animals, but lap dogs, lizards and Labradors merely keeping their owners company must be chained outside. His reason? The final straw for him came with a visit to Eddy V’s where a dog as large as the human patrons took a seat at the bar. “Folks are taking pets to the store rather than service animals,” he said. “The problem is getting worse and worse, and I’m trying to crack down on that.”

Delegation meeting — The Manatee County legislative delegation, chaired by state Rep. Will Robinson, will meet, 9 a.m., Manatee County Commission Chambers, 1112 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.

First on #FlaPol —Fired financial regulator Ronald Rubin now files public records suit against state” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics — Rubin – the state’s former chief financial regulator – filed a new suit against the state, saying he was being denied public records for his “investigation of racketeering, political corruption, abuse of power and misuse of taxpayer money at the highest levels.” A copy of the lawsuit, filed Sept. 23 in Leon County Circuit Civil court, was provided to Florida Politics late Tuesday. The defendants are the Department of Financial Services (DFS) and Office of Financial Regulation (OFR), which Rubin formerly headed. Both are under state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. The records are for a separate lawsuit he filed in Miami-Dade County this June, in which he claims Patronis and others “constituted an enterprise that used illegal means (including blackmail, extortion and abuse of public office) to enrich and empower themselves.”


Workgroup ready to report on voting rights restoration process” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Florida’s Restoration of Voting Rights Work Group held its final meeting before writing up a draft report to help outline how to verify an individual is eligible to have his or her voting rights restored. Toward the end of the meeting, Work Group Chair and Secretary of State Laurel Lee noted the next steps going forward: “Now that we have received information from several entities through the course of our meetings, the workgroup needs to begin developing our recommendations for the Legislature.” Lee noted the group would write up a draft report for review at their next meeting. They will then discuss edits or revisions and vote to approve the report, if possible.

Florida’s Amendment 4 muddled by confusing voter forms” via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald — Despite the passage of Amendment 4 last year, which was intended to make it easier for felons to regain their voting rights, Florida officials are using the same instructions on the voter registration form that the state used before the amendment — and instructing felons that they “cannot register until your right to vote is restored.” That language is not true for many felons. Since 65 percent of voters approved Amendment 4, Florida law allows felons who have completed their sentences to have their rights restored automatically. For four months, advocacy groups have attempted to get the Florida Department of State to change the instructions for the online and paper forms, warning that confusion could violate voters’ rights. But the agency continues to use the wording it used before the amendment was passed — in violation of the law, the groups say.

Richard Corcoran issues final order on monitoring contract” via the News Service of Florida — The Education Commissioner has issued a final order in a legal dispute about a contract to help monitor social media for threats of violence and other problems in school districts. Corcoran last week agreed with an administrative law judge who rejected a joint protest by the firms Abacode and ZeroFox. The protest came after Corcoran issued a decision that he was awarding the contract to NTT Data. A Department of Education negotiating team had recommended awarding the contract to Abacode. Administrative Law Judge Mary Li Creasy ruled that Corcoran had adequate reasons for disregarding the negotiating team’s recommendation. But under administrative law, Creasy’s ruling was a recommended order that had to go back to Corcoran for a final order.

Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran makes his final decision on a school monitoring contract. 

FDLE seeks money to help curb attacks” via Ana Ceballos of News Service of Florida — The agency is asking the Legislature for $3.6 million for several parts of its “behavioral threat assessment” tool, touted by both DeSantis and Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen. The money would be used for “cellular phone analytics” as well as eight full-time senior crime intelligence analysts and a year’s worth of funding to run a new data analytics system. 

Case raises questions about state’s move to drop racketeering charges” via Gary Fineout of POLITICO Florida — A wrongful prosecution lawsuit against former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and the state’s top prosecutor is raising questions about Bondi’s decision to drop charges against Jacksonville attorney Kelly Mathis in a case that shook Florida’s political landscape. A state-hired attorney representing Bondi and statewide prosecutor Nicholas Cox has asked a federal judge to toss out the lawsuit that Mathis filed in March, saying that there’s “compelling evidence that Mathis is guilty as charged” and that at a minimum “there was probable cause for his arrest and prosecution.” Bondi and Cox had accused Mathis of being the mastermind of a $300 million illegal gambling ring in a case that led to the 2013 resignation of Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll.

Parched Florida: Preliminary results show many cities experienced driest September on record” via Kimberly Miller of the Palm Beach Post — From Pensacola to the fringes of Biscayne Bay, many Florida cities experienced their driest September on record as tropical systems bypassed the Sunshine State. Just 1.39 inches of rain fell at Palm Beach International Airport last month, that’s a whopping seven inches below what’s normal for September and marks the driest September in 126 years. Fort Lauderdale and Naples also recorded their driest Septembers, according to the National Weather Service in Miami, which was still compiling a full report. Fort Lauderdale received 1.33 inches of rain last month, which is 7.26 inches below normal. Naples received 1.23 inches, which is 6.46 inches below normal.

The state is adding restrictions on prescribed burns that will limit sugar-cane burning” via Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida — New statewide safety rules about prescribed burns include more restrictions on burning fields of sugar-cane, a common practice during the growing season. And Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, while noting sugar growers were advised through conversations with her office about the changes, said additional burn rules are in the works, including a shorter burning season and increased fines for noncompliance.


Bahamas getting additional funds from USAID to help Hurricane Dorian recovery” via Jacqueline Charles of the Miami Herald — The additional aid, announced by USAID Administrator Mark Green, who is currently touring the island nation, brings the total U.S. government response to more than $33 million, the agency said. A 30-member disaster assistance response team remains on the ground to steer U.S. aid and help in the recovery of the islands where communications and electricity are still being restored.

Francis Rooney wants to stop federal bailouts of cities” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — The Naples Republican introduced the Government Bailout Prevention Act (HR 4572), legislation eliminating one crutch for failing governments. “American taxpayers do not like when their money is used to bail out failing corporations or businesses,” Rooney said, “and this dislike extends to state and local governments who are fiscally irresponsible.” Three Republican U.S. Senators — Todd Young of Indiana, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Tom Cotton of Arkansas — already introduced similar legislation in the upper chamber. Now, Rooney will usher the bill through the House. “I have consistently voted against irresponsible spending and subsidies,” he said. “All levels of government; federal, state, and local, must be better stewards of taxpayer money.”

Francis Rooney believes taxpayers should not have to shoulder the burden for municipal mismanagement.

Happening today — NPR chief economics reporter Scott Horsley will give a talk titled “Making Sense of Washington, 140 Characters at a Time,” noon, Florida State University College of Law rotunda, 425 W. Jefferson St., Tallahassee.

— 2020 —

How a big enough news story — like impeachment — could warp the polls” via Mark Blumenthal of — The problem comes from what pollsters call “differential nonresponse bias”: If partisans on one side of a political question respond to a survey more readily than partisans on the other side, you can get a polling error. The results in your poll won’t match the real-world opinion — instead, the poll will be skewed by how willing some people are to respond to a survey. Some folks see the potential for nonresponse to wreak havoc on nearly every poll, but actual evidence of nonresponse bias is hard to come by. There are known patterns in the way people respond to surveys. But pollsters study these patterns and try to correct for them, which usually allows them to avoid error, though sometimes not.

Trump cranks up grievance machine” via Alex Isenstadt of POLITICO — This summer, Trump 2020 officials spliced news clips of Democrats discussing impeachment into a 90-second video montage, punctuated by the president imploring supporters to help him “stop this nonsense.” Aides quietly filed the spot away until last week, when it was released as part of an online counteroffensive to the impeachment push that brought in 50,000-plus new donors and raked in $8.5 million in two days — the campaign’s biggest digital haul since its June launch. The push demonstrates how Trump, in less than three years in office, has perfected a grievance machine that converts deep-seated outrage on the right into fundraising dollars and new support.

Donald Trump has perfected a grievance machine to help propel him to reelection.

Bernie Sanders rakes in huge third-quarter cash haul” via Holly Otterbein of POLITICO — Sanders raised more than $25 million in the third quarter of the year. The massive haul demonstrates the Vermont Senator, despite slipping to third place behind Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden in national polling averages, remains a fundraising juggernaut. Sanders also recently reported that 1 million people have donated to his bid for the White House — a milestone he reached faster than any Democratic presidential candidate in history. Sanders’ staffers said the most common profession among his contributors during the quarter is teaching and the most common employers of his donors are Walmart, Amazon and Starbucks. The average contribution was just over $18, they said.

Pete Buttigieg posts strong third-quarter cash haul, but falls short of Q2 high mark” via Elena Schneider of POLITICO — Buttigieg‘s haul is expected to once again be among the highest Democratic totals this quarter. But the South Bend, Indiana, Mayor’s most recent take did not hit the high mark he set in the second quarter of the year, when he led the field with $24.8 million raised. During the third quarter, the Buttigieg campaign said it has 580,000 total contributors, a jump of about 182,000 new contributors over the previous quarter. The average contribution during the fundraising period was $32. “Pete continues to stand out as having the vision and leadership voters know we need to tackle the urgent problems facing our country,” said Mike Schmuhl, Buttigieg’s campaign manager.


Ashley Moody closed to open primaries proposal” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Moody filed a Supreme Court brief against a well-funded citizens’ initiative that would dramatically change Florida primaries. The All Voters Vote (AVV) committee would open up some of Florida’s most important primary elections to all voters, including independents, starting in 2024, setting up a “top-two” system. Moody opposes the concept, which now has over 700,000 of the required 766,200 valid signatures. The ballot summary is, according to Moody’s office, unclear. That’s because it “does not inform voters that the primary election would essentially be replaced by a general election with a run-off election to follow, if warranted.”

Assignment editors — State Sen. José Javier Rodriguez will be joined by members of the 32BJ Service Employees International Union and other advocates for a news conference on Florida’s proposed 2020 minimum wage constitutional amendment, 10 a.m., 2100 Coral Way, Suite 310, Miami.

Just off embargo — Florida Deputy Solicitor General Oz Vazquez eyes congressional run in CD 18Vazquez, a Port St. Lucie Democrat, is looking to challenge GOP U.S. Rep. Brian Mast. The incumbent defeated former Barack Obama administration official Lauren Baer in 2018 by nearly nine percentage points. “As a Deputy Solicitor General under a Republican attorney general, I put aside politics to defend Floridians,” Vazquez said while announcing his run Wednesday. “In Congress, I’ll take that experience of bipartisan service and work with Republicans and Democrats to get things done. I’m running to give a voice to working people who are struggling to get ahead, to seniors who depend on the benefits they spent their lives earning, and to our kids who deserve the chance to inherit the same American dream that I did.”

Oz Vazquez considers throwing his hat in the ring for a congressional run.

Kayser Enneking enters race for House District 21” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — Enneking is challenging Republican Rep. Chuck Clemons in HD 21. The Gainesville Democrat filed her campaign paperwork Tuesday. She is so far the only Democrat running for the seat. Enneking, a physician, was the Democratic nominee in Senate District 8 last year but lost to Republican Sen. Keith Perry by one point on Election Day. “I spent a lot of time trying to process what happened with the whole thing,” she told Florida Politics. “What I came away with is that we need leaders, and we don’t really have any right now. HD 21 covers all of Dixie and Gilchrist counties as well as part of Alachua. It is a target for Democrats in 2020.

Anna Eskamani launches first reelection campaign video” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Democratic state Rep. Eskamani borrowed some of the family biography footage from her 2018 campaign and adding a minute’s worth of progressive policy statements and harsh words about Republican policies. “Onward With Anna,” a one-minute, 32-second spot, is being released in advance of her official campaign kickoff event in downtown Orlando. Eskamani’s campaign and her unofficial People Power for Florida political committee already have raised more than $100,000 toward her run for reelection in House District 47 in central Orange County, she reports in a news release accompanying the video. September finance numbers have not yet been released. Through the end of August, her campaign had raised about $35,000, and People Power about $60,000.

To view the ad, click on the image below:

Bill Furst backs Donna Barcomb for HD 72 — Sarasota Property Appraiser Furst provided the Barcomb campaign with its latest endorsement Monday. “Donna Barcomb is the hardest working candidate I have seen in a long time,” he said. “She knows Sarasota and the issues that matter to this community. I have complete confidence that we will be best represented by Donna in Tallahassee.” Barcomb, a Republican, is looking to succeed Democratic Rep. Margaret Good, who is vacating the seat to run for Congress. “Bill Furst single-handedly brought conservative principles, fairness, and a steady hand to the Property Appraisers Office. He is a local leader we should all look up to, and I am so thankful for his friendship and support,” Barcomb said.

Democrat Franccesca Cesti-Browne to challenge Vance Aloupis in HD 115” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Cesti-Browne, the former chairperson for the Miami-Dade County Hispanic Affairs Advisory Board, will compete as a Democrat in an attempt to flip the Miami-Dade County district. Aloupis won the seat in 2018, succeeding term-limited Republican Rep. Michael Bileca. But Aloupis defeated his Democratic opponent, Jeff Solomon, by just one percentage point. That gives Florida Democrats hope they can turn the district blue in 2020. “I was raised in Miami, I’ve seen the struggles that our community has gone through and how we’ve been consistently neglected by entrenched Tallahassee interests,” Cesti-Browne said.

Fifteen years later, Alex Penelas running for Miami-Dade mayor again” via Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald —  Penelas formally launched his campaign to return as county mayor on Tuesday, quietly filing papers in a race to lead Miami-Dade’s government for the second time in 15 years. Penelas, 57, is returning to politics for the race to succeed a term-limited Carlos Gimenez in 2020, banking on his latent popularity winning an office that’s grown more powerful since he left County Hall in 2004.

First on #FlaPol — “Jeff Hendry to run for Leon Co. Commission” — The longtime leader of the John Scott Dailey Florida Institute of Government will now run for elected office himself. Jeff Hendry on Tuesday filed his candidate paperwork for an at-large seat on the Leon County Commission. “To be honest, I think I’ve been preparing for this all my life,” Hendry told Florida Politics. Hendry says he’s given a lot of thought to running for office. So when County Commissioner Mary Ann Lindley announced she would not seek a third term, Hendry embraced the opportunity.


First in Sunburn —Javier Fernandez readies for SD 39 contest with more than $100K on hand” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — The Democrat is announcing he’s raised more than $73,000 since kicking off his campaign for the Senate District 39 seat. That, combined with more than $30,000 carried over from his since-abandoned House District 115 reelection bid, gives the state Representative more than $104,000 banked as he tries to wrest the seat from Republicans. … Fernandez announced he’d give up defending his HD 115 seat after Pinecrest Vice Mayor Anna Hochkammer dropped out of the SD 39 contest, citing health concerns. Fernandez replaced her in the race, eventually earning support from the entire Senate Democratic Caucus.

Javier Fernandez has amassed a nice war chest in his bid for SD 39.

Kathleen Passidomo cooking up ‘Italian Dinner’ fundraiser” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — Senate Majority Leader Passidomo is hosting a fundraiser next month. The invite says the Naples Republican will be preparing an Italian dinner for those attending the event, slated for the evening of Nov. 4. The invitation doesn’t list the venue. Those details come with an RSVP. Getting a seat at the table will take a $5,000 check to her political committee, Working Together for Florida PAC. As of Aug. 31, the committee had about $500,000 in the bank. Passidomo’s Senate District 28 seat won’t be on the ballot this cycle, though she and St. Augustine Sen. Travis Hutson are the top contenders to become Senate President in 2022. That means providing some financial backup for the Republicans running in 2020.

Save the date — Speaker José Oliva and Speaker-designate Chris Sprowls join Chairman Paul Renner for a fundraising reception in honor of fellow chairs and state Reps. Tom Leek and Jayer Williamson. That’s Tuesday, Oct. 15, 5-6 p.m., The Governor’s Club (in the Library), 202 S. Adams St., Tallahassee. RSVP to Katie Ballard at (954) 803-3942 or [email protected].


Must-read from Noah Pransky — “Sarasota deputies have track record of crossing line on undercover stings” via Florida Politics —(N)ew records analyzed by Florida Politics reveal the outrageous lengths the agency has been willing to go to try and convince law-abiding men to break the law to boost arrest totals in their “To Catch a Predator”-style undercover stings. In one example from a 2017 operation, SCSO spent two days trying to seduce a 20-year-old man who showed no interest in having sex with a child. Detectives, who posted an ad for an 18-year-old woman on Tinder, matched with the young man and proceeded to swap “getting-to-know-you” texts for more than an hour; only then did detectives tell the man he was chatting with a 14-year-old girl, not an 18-year-old. Undercover detectives continued to try and talk about sex with the man the next day; he again rebuffed the attempts, but continued the small talk because he indicated he was bored. Detectives then sent unsolicited, flirty photos to the man; a tactic that violates best practices and ethical standards for this type of stings.

ACLU at odds with Escambia County Clerk of Court over request for ex-felon data” via Kevin Robinson of the Pensacola News Journal — Escambia County is the only county in the state that has refused to comply with an American Civil Liberties Union public records request, the ACLU claims. The ACLU is trying to identify individuals with felony convictions who may be eligible to vote in the wake of Amendment 4. The amendment — passed with about 65 percent voter support in 2018 — is intended to automatically restore most felony offenders’ voting rights when they have completed the terms of their sentence. The organization has requested information on all the felony defendants who have been processed since 1980, how their cases were disposed and if they have any outstanding fees.

Jurors begin deliberations in fraud trial Katrina Brown, Reginald Brown” via Christopher Hong of the Florida Times-Union — Jurors in the fraud trial of former Jacksonville City Council members Katrina and Reginald Brown began deliberations. During their closing arguments, prosecutors told jurors they had presented “overwhelming evidence” proving Katrina and Reginald Brown both knowingly broke the law. Thomas Bell, Reginald Brown’s attorney, said prosecutors failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that his client knowingly broke the law. He said there was “absolutely no evidence” that he agreed to participate in a criminal conspiracy with Katrina Brown or that he was aware she submitted fake invoices to the bank.

Jurors are now deliberating the fate of Katrina Brown.

School officials scramble to review Sept. 11 Deerlake presentation after parent’s concerns” via Nada Hassanein and CD Davidson-Hiers of the Tallahassee Democrat — Ahmed Rashidi, whose 12-year-old son attends the school and is Muslim, was shocked when he downloaded history teacher Vince Cartwright’s presentation titled “Roots of 9/11” earlier this week from the school’s website and read the words: “On 9/11 Muslims celebrated news the WTC (World Trade Center) collapsed.” The image was sourced from, a Biblical website out of Canada. Another image was pulled from an online forum, History Commons, which identifies itself as “open-content” and “participatory.” In the 92-slide PowerPoint, obtained by the Democrat from Rashidi, several images were hyperlinked to unofficial sources including from commentator Debbie Schlussel’s website. “These are the types of presentations that divide a community and pit people against each other,” Rashidi said.

Delta Tau Delta fraternity chapter suspended at FSU following hazing allegations” via Byron Dobson of the Tallahassee Democrat — Delta Tau Delta fraternity at FSU is under investigation for hazing allegations. The university and the national office of the fraternity have suspended the chapter pending the results of an investigation, said Amy Hecht, vice president for student affairs at FSU. University spokesman Dennis Schnittker said the hazing allegations also are being investigated by the FSU Police Department. The suspension means that the chapter is not allowed to operate as a fraternity on the FSU campus and must cease all chapter operations and activities, Hecht said. The university has instituted several policies and guidelines to eliminate following the 2017 death of Andrew Coffey, a student who died at an off-campus fraternity party after drinking a bottle of bourbon.

Delta Tau Delta fraternity at FSU is under investigation for hazing violations under new guidelines and has been suspended.

Owner of Hamburger Mary’s suing Florida Department of Health over discrimination allegations involving hepatitis A scare” via Wendy Ryan and Erin Smith of WFTS Tampa Bay — A former franchise owner of popular gay-themed burger restaurants is suing the Florida Department of Health for discrimination in a case involving a local hepatitis A scare. Kurt King, who owned Hamburger Mary’s in Ybor City, alleges the health department and Douglas Holt — Hillsborough County’s public health boss — “treat homosexual persons differently as demonstrated by the false reporting of hepatitis A,” according to the lawsuit. The civil lawsuit references a public warning issued by the Hillsborough County Health Department in October 2018 about a Hamburger Mary’s worker who tested positive for hepatitis A. But King has accused the agency of false reporting. He previously said lab test results his employee sent him show the hepatitis A test was not positive.

Vendor arrested after charging fan $724 for 2 beers during Dolphins game” via Peter Burke of — A beer vendor was arrested at Hard Rock Stadium after using a Square reader to charge more than $700 to a fan’s credit card during a Miami Dolphins game. Nathaniel Collier faces charges of third-degree grand theft and possession of a skimming device. According to an arrest affidavit, the victim ordered two beers from Collier during Miami’s 30-10 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers and gave him his credit card to pay for them. But police said Collier used his personal card reader to charge the victim $724. The victim was notified of the charge by his bank a short time later.


Jacksonville City Council eyes hiring attorney for JEA deal” via David Bauerlein of the Florida Times-Union — Jacksonville City Council President Scott Wilson said the council should hire its own lawyer “sooner rather than later” to start preparing for the prospect of a JEA privatization deal coming to council in the spring. Wilson gave his backing to hiring an attorney, who would bring expertise in such blockbuster deals, during a meeting convened by City Council member Brenda Priestly Jackson about the council’s role in the potential sale of JEA. General Counsel Jason Gabriel, who is the top attorney in the city’s consolidated form of government, said the City Charter gives the council the ability to hire outside lawyers. “You can hire them tomorrow,” he said.

Scott Wilson feels that the Jacksonville City Council should hire a lawyer ‘sooner than later,’ preparing for a possible JEA privatization deal.

Orlando going to $15 minimum wage for full- and part-time employees, Mayor Buddy Dyer says” via Ryan Gillespie of the Orlando Sentinel — The increases are for all full- and part-time city employees who make less than $15 per hour and will be looped into contracts for the Service Employees International Union, Laborers’ International Union of North America and International Association of Fire Fighters. Those affected include maintenance workers, gate attendants, office and recreation assistants. The raises also will apply to non-bargaining employees. In addition, Dyer said the city’s responsible contractor policy will require a $15 per hour minimum wage, too, and city employees who make more than $15 an hour will see their pay adjusted as well at the same ratio.

Tampa General on track for record-breaking year” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — Tampa General Hospital has hit another milestone. On Monday, it announced that it has completed 100 successful liver transplants so far in 2019 and is on pace to perform more than 500 transplants this year — that’s more than it’s ever performed in its history and makes it one of the top-10 busiest centers for adult liver transplants in the nation. The new milestone follows another major one from earlier this year. As of late-May, it had performed 10,000 transplants in the decades since it opened. “We’ve had an incredible year, meeting the needs of our community, and surpassing 100 transplants before we ever thought possible,” said Dr. Kiran Dhanireddy, executive director of Tampa General’s Advanced Organ Disease & Transplantation Institute.


Trump has disqualified himself from running in 2020” via Will Wilkinson of the New York Times — The president’s bungled bid to coerce Ukraine’s leader into helping the Trump 2020 reelection campaign smear a rival struck “decide it at the ballot box” off the menu of reasonable opinion forever. Trump’s brazen attempt to cheat his way into a second term stands so scandalously exposed that there can be no assurance of a fair election if he’s allowed to stay in office. Resolving the question of the president’s fitness at the ballot box isn’t really an option, much less the best option, when the question boils down to whether the ballot box will be stuffed.

Raises better than bonuses for teachers” via the Gainesville Sun editorial board — Florida teachers have an average annual salary of $48,486. Alachua County Public Schools currently rank 46th out of 67 counties with an average salary of $45,215, although 100 percent of single employee health insurance is covered here unlike in many other districts, according to a district spokeswoman. It’s no wonder why Florida had more than 3,500 teacher vacancies in August. Significantly improving teacher pay should be a bipartisan priority. The Council of 100 group of business and civic leaders included the idea in its plan to improve education in Florida, finding that the state’s lack of competitive wages makes it hard to attract people to teaching.


Orlando pollster becomes Fox News contributor” via Hal Boedeker of the Orlando Sentinel — Republican pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson, who grew up in Orlando, has become a Fox News Channel contributor, the network announced Tuesday. Anderson, a 2002 graduate of Cypress Creek High School, earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Florida in 2005. She received her master’s degree in government from Johns Hopkins University.

New and renewed lobbying registrations:

Taylor Patrick Biehl, Jeff Sharkey, Capitol Alliance Group: Core Group

Barney Bishop, Barney Bishop Consulting: Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office, Union County Sheriff’s Office, Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office

Matt Bryan, David Daniel, Thomas Griffin, Jeff Hartley, Lisa Hurley, Teye Reeves, Smith Bryan & Myers: Prolacta Bioscience, RA Outdoors d/b/a Aspira

Mary DeLoach, Nelson Diaz, David Shepp, The Southern Group: Association of Florida Colleges, Florida Family Fairness

Neal Kwatra, Stephanie Rosendorf, Metropolitan Public Strategies: BusPatrol America

Ashley Lukis, GrayRobinson: Florida Outdoor Advertising Association

Andrea Tovar, Corcoran Partners: 831 Federal Acquisition d/b/a The Big Easy Casino, Central Florida Expressway Authority, The Florida Aquarium, Fontainebleau Development, Tampa Bay Water, Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority, Verizon, Women of Tomorrow

— ALOE —

Disney Cruise Line early-2021 itinerary includes two ships at Port Canaveral, one in Miami” via Dave Berman of Florida Today — Disney Cruise Line will have three ships based in Florida in early-2021, with two at Port Canaveral and one in Miami. In its newly released itinerary announcement, Disney said it would continue to base its two largest ships — the 4,000-passenger Dream and Fantasy — at Port Canaveral. Brevard’s seaport is attractive to Disney because of its proximity to Disney’s Orlando-area theme parks. The Disney Dream will sail three- and four-night Bahamian cruises and the Disney Fantasy will sail seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries. From Miami, the 2,713-passenger Disney Magic will sail three-, four- and five-night Bahamian and Western Caribbean cruises.

By early 2021, Disney Cruise Line will have three ships based in Florida — two at Port Canaveral and one in Miami.

Florida’s favorite Halloween candy is … Skittles?” via Dinorah Prevost of the Tampa Bay Times — Bulk candy website ranked Skittles as Florida’s favorite Halloween candy. Snickers and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups came in second and third. Hawaii, California, Delaware and Arkansas join Florida as Skittles fans. The candy retailer and distributor compiled a favorite Halloween candy list by state, based on 12 years of sales data for the months leading up to Halloween. It also ranked the best and worst Halloween candies. Candy corn was the worst candy while managing to be the favorite candy of Nevada, Idaho, North Dakota, New Mexico and Iowa.


Happy birthday to Jennings Lawton DePriest, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, and Bob Lotane.


Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, and Drew Wilson.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

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